I want to set this straight before we get into the meat of this article; I am, completely ignoring the politicized meanings of the term, pro-life. I will never have to make a choice thanks to my chromosomal make-up, but it is in my nature to be in favor of life whenever possible. I don’t like the idea of murder; I don’t even really dig the idea of killing in self defense, though I’d say I’m also gonna put that objective ahead of “dying like an idiot.”
It is precisely because I am pro-life that I am pro-choice.
What’s more, with a minimum of legislation involved, I think that being pro-choice is the only socially conservative stance one can take.
What Limits the Number of Deaths from Abortions?
First of all, I found a chart thanks to a page of FreeRepublic.org. I believe that said chart will make my point better than I ever could without it.
This graph in particular is an interesting one because it indicates that Roe V. Wade, in 1973, only made a small difference in deaths from illegal abortions in comparison to, say, Penicillin. On the surface, that’s a pretty significant detraction from that now-legendary Supreme Court ruling, right?
Only…Look at the numbers on the far left, and then look down at the date in question. In 1941, over 1,000 women died from illegal abortions. One might argue that this was a different time, where the shame of even having a child outside of wedlock might drive the Abortion rate higher, but wouldn’t that number then go up? The answer is pretty obvious, when compared to another graph, one which comes from “Real Choice.”
So according to this pair of graphs, I’ve figured it out. The reason why those undergoing illegal abortions wound up having better outcomes was because medical science was improving and, of course, doctors were the ones performing most of the abortions in question. If either of those two factors were reduced, it stands to reason that the number of women surviving the process would decrease.
Now, as someone who looks at all sides of an issue, those who are staunchly anti-abortion will say, “Great! 100% of babies still died! What’s your point?” And I’ll say, in response, that over 1000 people/year lived as a result of illegal abortions, and those who were going to die still died. Point? Mine.
When Abortion is Necessary…
I’m not here to pass laws, or even to make overwhelming suggestions about making laws. The litmus test used in Roe Vs. Wade was one of viability, and the court ruled in a reasonable following of that goal. That’s a fairly reasonable ideal to hold to – while a fetus at one month is not much of a fetus, at eight months it most certainly is a baby, one potentially capable of living outside of the womb. As a believer in life itself, I have no interest in seeing babies who could live get killed, instead. If it were that simple an issue, there would probably be no issue…
And then you have stories like that of Nikki Kendal. This poor woman tried, in spite of abysmal odds, to carry her baby to term. She could not. She would have died without a late stage abortion. She says it best:
“My two kids at home almost lost their mother because someone decided that my life was worth less than that of a fetus that was going to die anyway.”
- Nikki Kendal
This was not a case of viability. This is not a situation where a woman is choosing to have an abortion, and might choose differently if, say, shown a picture of her baby on an ultrasound machine. No, this is a woman who was dying. This was a baby who was, for all intents and purposes, already dead. This was not an abortion. Dr. House, fictional medical maverick/madman that he is, might even say that it instead was the removal of a cancer, though that’s an extremely cynical and dehumanized point of view.
I wonder what it says of me, that I’m able to conceive of it?
Oh! And, no, a baby conceived of rape or incest is not a healthy one! Those sort of horror stories should be dealt with through over-the-counter “morning-after” medication, under ideal circumstances. Whenever a woman is raped, she should seek justice. Whenever anyone is injured, society should do what it can to help that person; that includes preventing a possible, nightmarish situation from playing out.
Otherwise, I think the Supreme Court’s ruling really is fair on this – if the baby can survive, then it is truly sad but it should be allowed that chance. If the fetus is a mass of cells, well, it has no sentience as of yet.
…And when Abortion isn’t necessary.
Now, whenever a pregnancy is healthy, it is my opinion (and not my making-of-law) that the baby should be carried to term and put up for adoption. That’s pretty much the way to handle such things, and it really undermines any “unfit mothers” arguments. Planned Parenthood (we shall get to that) exists for a reason, and perhaps if we had more realistic adoption laws we might have more children in loving homes. But that’s another issue. Adoption, overall, is better than abortion.
I’m pro-life. I don’t want to see people choosing to get abortions in the 8th month just so they can go on having sex. I realize that’s a hackneyed kind of view, but I also know that somewhere on this Earth it has happened, so it is real. The majority of people caught up in having abortions, however, either have them early on or, well, don’t have a choice at all.
Since I’m pro-life, I think these little things called “condoms” are our best bet, here. There’s also lovely things called “Birth control pills” that so many of my fellow ‘conservatives’ don’t want to hear about. True, there’s something sick about forcing people who are religiously opposed to such medications to take them…But they typically aren’t being forced upon anyone. Its a bit disturbing to say this, but the right-wing folks like Sean Hannity that I’ve listened to are right on this point: Nobody is making them illegal. The argument is usually over access to it through health insurance, and, well, that’s also another argument.
So, back to the point of “choice” in the “pro-choice” debate…
When Abortion isn’t a Choice
The idea of “choice” in abortion, in other words, is what is truly the most problematic, in my eyes. The idea that Mrs. Kendal might somehow choose to die just so she could, what, go with her baby that will tragically-as-fuck not live? That would only cost another innocent life and, if you want to look at secondary consequences, guess what? Her two living, breathing children would be without a mother.
And, while I can’t do anything but feel admiration for Mrs. Kendal’s attempt to carry this baby to term, in spite of the odds, I know not all women can bear that responsibility. They should not have to. That’s why people like Terry England, a Georgia politician, are completely off the rails. According to Wonkette, Mr. England believes women shouldn’t get to “abort” these miscarried babies when its discovered that they are already medically dead. They should have to give birth! Why? Because animals do it?
Seriously? And chickens?
I know Mr. England’s imagined scenario is a far cry from the horror story of a woman throwing herself down a flight of stairs to self-abort, or perhaps being thrown down them by another, but this isn’t a choice, either. This is a mother removing her dead baby from inside of her so that she may give it a proper fucking burial, you quack! And Mrs. Kendal and others like herself are not sinners looking to kill a baby so they can get another ride on the lust-a-thon!
They are, by and large, mothers who are forced to make a decision that men, while certainly effected by it, do not have to carry out. Alan Dick of Alaska raises an interesting point in all of the wrong ways when he mentions that men really don’t get much say in abortions. His answer is to make things 50/50, which isn’t at all fair to the women who have to, y’know, actually have a baby here. But I wonder if that isn’t part of the ‘conservative’ outrage in the first place.
Maybe its this lack of understanding that makes so many religious-conservative males opposed to abortion? Maybe, since I’d like to believe I’ve proven that it is often not a choice at all, some of the fire will escape this debate from their side?